How 'Personality Types' Impact the Entrepreneur in You ft. Merrick Rosenberg of Take Flight Learning
Kriti: [00:00:00] Hey guys, welcome to WhyFI Matters!. So, if you're like me, then you are ways online doing personality tests. That's literally all I do in my spare time. So I love finding out like what gossip girl character I am, which unfortunately I'm a Dan Humphrey and I have no idea why, but it's okay. Or even figuring out what Harry Potter house you're in for the millionth time. I'm a Slytherin, so shout out to all my Slytherin and friends out there. Or even figuring out what your Myers Briggs personality type is, which is a little more like serious career oriented. So apparently I am an E N T P. So I've always wondered how our personalities can actually affect our careers and affect the way we manage our money.
And today I'm really excited because we have Merrick Rosenberg on the podcast. And he's the author of "The chameleon- life-changing wisdom for anyone who has a personality or know someone who does". And he's also the CEO of "Take Flight Learning". What's really cool is that Merrick has worked with some of the top 100 companies listed in the fortune 500 list. And that's amazing.
So I can't wait to learn more about innovation entrepreneurship. And finances when it comes to these different personality types. I hope you enjoyed the interview.
Hi Merrick. Thank you so much for coming on WhyFI Matters today. I'm super excited to learn more about the different personality traits and types.
I love going on buzz feed or play buzz and looking at different personality quizzes. But this is pretty interesting because it relates to a business kind of perspective and it helps entrepreneurs understand themselves better. So I'm really looking forward to learning more about everything you're doing with your company.
Merrick: [00:02:03] Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm excited to talk with you today.
Kriti: [00:02:07] So you're the author of "The chameleon- life changing wisdom for anyone who has a personality or know someone who does". So, can you tell us more about your book and what made you interested in personality traits and types and how this sort of intersects with the business world?
Merrick: [00:02:29] Sure. So I started a team building company back in 1991, and it was at the time was one of the first team building companies in the United States. And so I was teaching people how to work together better, how to understand yourself, how to get along better with your coworkers and personality was just a natural part of that. Understanding your own style, understanding the styles of others.
And so, I was using at that time, the disc model. Disc is one of the popular assessments that are used to help us understand ourselves. Ultimately I thought, God, it's gotta be easier than this. It's gotta be easier to remember. So I swapped out the letters, swapped in for birds, tried to make it very visual, something that people could look at and go, Oh yeah, I remember that nice and simple and built a company around it. I wrote my book. The chameleon is all about understanding our style and understanding how to get along better with others. It's a series of fables. So it's a lot of fun.
Kriti: [00:03:27] Speaking of the fables. Do you have a little fable that you could tell us right now? I'd love to hear a story.
Merrick: [00:03:33] Sure, sure. So, first of all, we've got four styles. I'll give you an example of the four styles, then I'll show you how it plays out in the fable. So, we've got the Eagles that are very confident and assertive and their bottom line and they're direct and they know what they want. They are all about results. Then you've got Parrots and parrots are fun. They're social, they're outgoing. They are people oriented. Yeah, they're talkative. They just want people to have a good time. Then you've got the Doves that are very compassionate and caring. They want everyone to get along. And finally Owls very logical, analytical detail oriented.
So the book is filled with these fables where I'll give you an example and we'll just help bring it to life. A terrible storm has hit the forest and all of the swallow's nests have been destroyed. And fortunately the owls were very prepared as owls tend to be. And they have created a whole bunch of these. What do they call these swallow nest kits, where they can rebuild all the nest for these poor birds who have lost their homes. So they've partnered up and you can watch these partners building this. So there's a pair of an owl and a parrot building nests together.
The owl takes everything out of the bag. Inspects every part counts, everything lines, everything up takes out, the instructions reads the whole instructions before doing anything; looks over at the parrot who has ripped open a bag and has just started to build. The parrot has not checked anything, hasn't read the instructions is just going for it.
And you can imagine the fun conversation that ensues after they each look at each other, the owl is like, what are you doing? And the parent's like, why haven't you started. So it's just a fun way of seeing style in action in our daily lives. That, of course, it's a, you see yourself in the stories. We see our relationships and our family and our friends in what's happening.
Kriti: [00:05:35] So would you say that one personality type is better? Like what if the parrots suddenly like didn't work because the owl did it more systematically or do you think they're all have their own strengths and unique things that make them important to have.
Merrick: [00:05:52] Right? It's exactly right. They all bring something different. There are times where things need to be done perfectly and exactly. Maybe you bring that out in, cause it's gotta be measured and it's gotta be precise, but maybe you're working on a group project, and now you need to present it to everybody. And this is where the parrot shines and the parrot comes in and they get everybody excited. Yeah. Dazzling presentation. Whereas the owl might've just been sharing facts and data. So, each person brings something different and that's, what's really important. Is it's not just, it's not that one is good or one is bad. They're all good. But they bring something different to the equation.
Kriti: [00:06:31] So, I feel like I would be. I'm not sure because I feel like I'd be a mixture. So, is it that you can be a bunch of different birds or are you saying that there's only one bird for one person?
Merrick: [00:06:43] So everybody's has all four. And you probably have one or two that are like home base for you. So for me, I'm more of a parrot with a secondary Eagle style. I have some Eagle, but my parrot is definitely my strongest. My owl is maybe towards the middle. I have some owl but my dove is pretty low.
And so, uh, but what does it mean? It means we all have to learn how to tap into every one of those, because if you have one of those styles that you don't display, it's going to get you in trouble.
Kriti: [00:07:15] I see. So how would I figure mine out? Or is there like a certain formula or you take a bunch of questions or is it something like right now, just thinking, I feel like I'll be a mixture of an owl and an Eagle and then maybe parrot and then dove. So is it just something that you kind of feel instinctual?
Merrick: [00:07:33] Uh, well, yeah, I think a lot of people just have a sense of this is my style. There is an assessment, like on my Take Flight learning at my website, you can make an assessment and go online and you can actually take a profile and answer some questions and it gives you a graph.
So there is a specific process to figure out yourself, but most people will look at it and go, you know, I'm probably these two, but I have this one and this one, sometimes you can do all four, but there are probably are one or two, which you see alot.
Kriti: [00:08:00] This is really interesting. So do you think that labeling in general oftentimes keeps people in boxes, but yeah. Is there a way for like these personality types in these tests to not do that in a sense?
Merrick: [00:08:18] Yeah. I don't think of it as labeling at all. I think of it is it's a tool to help you understand yourself and the people around you.
So in other words, if I were talking to you and I knew you were an owl, then I would know that. Me as a Parrot-Eagle . I'm probably not likely if I have to give you instructions on how to do something I'm probably not going to give you very much detail. As a paralegal. I'm going to say, Hey, here it is. I trust you. Go for it. Right. But if I know you're an owl, I would say to myself, wait a minute. I want to help that person. And so I would probably provide more detail to you then I would maybe parrot, but it's not a matter of boxing you in. It's a matter of saying, I want to respect and honor who you are.
And so I want to treat you how you want to be treated. It's a very powerful point to say. We are not limited by our style. Anybody can display any behavior as a parrot Eagle, I can be very organized and very structured. I can be very sympathetic even though my dove isn't very strong. But my natural tendency, if somebody was going through a problem would probably be, try to help fix it as opposed to be more empathetic.
Kriti: [00:09:30] These personality types, they shine most when you have to problem solve and kind of be analytical and strategize. And I think that relates to the business and entrepreneurial world. So how does your personality types differ from say like the Myers Briggs type indicator.
Like I know that I'm an INTP there. But how do I, like, how does yours specifically address our specialized for like entrepreneurship?
Merrick: [00:10:02] Sure. This profile where the four birds can be used anywhere. They certainly can be used in relationships. And a lot of times people talk about how it's helped them to improve their marriage or their relationship with their children. It can be used at work and for salespeople or leaders, but it also can be used for an entrepreneur starting a new business. The difference between like a Myers-Briggs and what I'm doing here with the four birds, the reality is. We have one mind, there's one brain up there and we're just looking at it from all different perspectives.
The Myers-Briggs has four different, you know, introvert extrovert. And then you're somewhere along that continuum. You put the ambivert in the middle. Thinking and feeling, are you a T are you or F. It powerful. It gives you a sense of who you are. Which is exactly what the four birds do. They give you a sense of who you are. I think about the birds is different is that I can meet somebody and very quickly, almost shake their hand and tell you their style. I can be like, okay, that's an Eagle, that's a Parrot. You could do it too. If I were to say to somebody like Jimmy Fallon or Kevin Hart, like what style do you think they would be? Like, what is your brand.
Right. You see how you did that? Instantly. If I were to say somebody like a Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Owl. Notice, like notice what you're doing. Instantaneous recognition, how you know how to relate to them. The Myers Briggs. It's not really designed for people reading. It's not really designed so that I walk up to somebody and go you'll Gates and the new you, you don't go.
I. S T J you know, it's like, it's hard to, although it probably as an ISTJ. Um, it's probably, it's harder to do that and have an instant recognition. So the birds have this visual illness and this ease of people reading. So you can adapt very fast.
Kriti: [00:11:53] Interesting. And I think also, like you said, it's visible.
Like I can visualize them and it's hard to like visualize just a bunch of letters. Do you know what I'm saying?
Merrick: [00:12:05] Well, that's why I swapped out the, I was using the disc model and that's why I swapped out.
Kriti: [00:12:11] What's the DISC model ?.
Merrick: [00:12:14] There's whenever you find a four type model, there's almost always four of them.
They're in ancient China and ancient Greece, the native American medicine. Well, almost everywhere you go. There are four and DISC was created in the early 1900s. Very popular in corporate America. D I S C. D is dominant that's, the Eagle. I is very interactive, that's the parent S is very supportive. That the dove. C very analytical, that's the owl. So I use those letters for a long time, but I found that people just didn't remember the letters. I'd go back six months later. I'm like which is the C again. But if I were to say Eagle or owl, It's like you instantly get it.
Kriti: [00:12:55] I see. Um, I feel like you've talked a little bit about this, but what do you exactly do at Take Flight Learning?
Merrick: [00:13:02] So we do a couple things. One, is we run training programs to teach people about their style. So we teach people about themselves, but we also teach them how to interact with others. And then we use the birds in a whole bunch of training programs such as how do you sell using the four birds? How do you lead others using the four birds? How do you innovate? How do you resolve conflict? Uh, and then we also do certifications. So if somebody has their own business, they're an executive coach. We have a certification that teaches you how to infuse the birds into your coaching. If you're a consultant, we certify you to be able to deliver training programs using the birds. So we run training and we also certified people to deliver the training.
Kriti: [00:13:46] I know leadership is a important factor when you're an entrepreneur, but um, like I guess, can you give us some examples of how the four different styles relate to leadership? Because in my mind, obviously I'm not like trained, but I'll immediately think, "Hey, I need an Eagle to be the boss of my team". And this might be the case. Like I'm just thinking of Bill Gates right now. And he, or even cause he had his partner, I forget his name who was more of like the face of Microsoft. Right? And he did most of the computer programming and stuff like that. Right?
Merrick: [00:14:26] And each leader brings something different. The paradigm is Eagle equals leadership, but the reality is eagles can be great leaders. But so can every other style, your style does not determine how successful you'll be at a leader or how good you'll be as leader. But what it does is it determines how you go about being a leader. So parrot leaders, picture somebody like Richard Branson, parrot leaders create big energy, excitement. It's all about a fun culture that people love working in. Whereas our leaders create like a Bill Gates or a Warren buffet or Mark Zuckerberg, very structured processes and systems. Somebody like an Eagle leader, like the Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos create habits. Big picture ideas. We want to do something. No one has done before big goals, right? Somebody like a Dove leader cares about how are we treating people? Somebody like Howard Schultz from Starbucks. I once heard him say, I want it to create a company that my father never got to work at. Every style can be a great leader.
Whether it's an organization or a team or a whole country, any style, it can be very effective. In fact, presidential scholars, universally would say that Abraham Lincoln was the single greatest president in US history. Overwhelmingly, he is at the top and he was a dove.
Kriti: [00:15:51] Right
Second, almost always. George Washington is listed second and he was an owl. So, you know, we think it's, Oh, we think it's Eagle. But the first five presidents of the United States were all Owls. The six presidents leading up to the civil war were all Doves. We had a lot of owls and doves in those early years.
Merrick: [00:16:10] Look here, Warren buffet, take a Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Howard Schultz for self-made billionaires. Most of them, it started out of their garage or started with very little investment and built amazing organizations. How did they do it? Their style drove their success, but they did it very differently.
Kriti: [00:16:31] Differently.
Merrick: [00:16:32] Yeah.
So anybody can be, can be at the top of whatever it is, a team, a company or so on.
Kriti: [00:16:38] Yeah. There's not like one formula to make a successful business, like what they've done.
And in order to have a successful business, you really need to be innovative and you have to do something that will make you like ahead of the curve and give you like this competitive advantage. Otherwise you're stuck and you see that through so many different companies like Kindle and Netflix. So, how can we see these different birds as innovators?
So think about, imagine a team and picture you have a given team.
You have a parrot on the team who says, yes. Hey, what about this? They have crazy ideas, like new, different out of the box ideas. You have an Eagle who focuses you and says, all right, what are we trying to achieve? What is our goal? How are we going to make that happen? You have an Owl evaluating the ideas, thinking them through, making sure that if we poke enough holes in this, it still floats.
And then you'll have a Dove who says, okay, let's talk about who's going to do what, what are the roles or responsibilities? How are we going to make it happen? And so if you're missing any one of those steps. You're going to be missing something big. If you're missing the parrot, you end up just refining what is. You don't have excitement and energy. If you're missing the owl, you don't think things through you're missing the Eagle. You get off track. If you're missing the Dove, you don't define it roles. You don't just define, who's going to do what, when is it going to happen? They define the who, what, when, where, why and how?
And so, so what happens is you have to make sure that if you have a team and you're missing one of the styles that somebody fills it in. And you as a leader, you can't go and hire a whole group of people like you. Because you think this has got to be awesome. I'm a parrot. If I surround myself with highly excited, energize motivated, people will be successful. You can't do that. You've got to think I'm going to need a little bit of each of these. So I'm missing one, we'll have problems.
And do you think there are any styles that you should make maybe avoid when you're starting a business?
Merrick: [00:18:37] You need them all, but what you want to avoid is people who are overusing their style.
So in other words, you need Eagle parrots, doves and Owls. But if you have an Eagle who overuses their Eagle, now they're blunt and offending people, right? Do you have a parent who's optimism is too strong. Now they're unrealistic, right? If you have a Dove who's stylist too strong, they may be too passive. They may know this isn't going to work, but they don't speak up. Do you have an Owl who's too, whose style is too strong? They analysis paralysis. They can't make a decision. So with it's not a matter of are. We have to watch out for one of the styles. So you have to watch out for is anybody overusing their strengths, which are now causing them to be weaknesses.
Kriti: [00:19:18] Interesting. I was wondering if you think it's important for us to be aware of our own personality styles and choose career paths based on them? Because I know from like previous tests, I've done online my free time, it's like, if you're this personality, then you should be like this, like an architect or something like that. Do you think it's something to be aware of?
Merrick: [00:19:42] I think it is, but I think you will naturally be drawn to something that does fit your style anyway.
So in other words, um, when I work with a lot of nurses, they're overwhelmingly owls and doves. When I work with finance and engineering, they're often owls. When I work with lawyers, they're very often Eagles and ALS, I go into human resources, departments they're often parrots and doves. So you're just going to naturally be drawn to your style.
And then once you do, you'll find a job within your style that you enjoy. Like take, for example, you go to school and you become a nurse and you love being a nurse and you, but you're an Eagle. Well, there is only one place that I find Eagle nurses in hospitals. And that's the emergency room because it can cause the owls.
Can you imagine an owl being in an emergency?
Kriti: [00:20:35] They wouldn't get anything done.
Merrick: [00:20:37] Like this person needs something done to them right now. And this person we need testing. We can't just do something to this person. We need data and the Eagle's like, just do it and then we'll figure it out later. And so maybe you're you go into IT and you're the parrot.
Which is less likely. There's fewer Parrot in the IT world, in the computer.
Kriti: [00:20:57] My dad is definitely a Parrot and I, and he's does tech and he's in the computer world.
Merrick: [00:21:03] But what does he do? Is he, is he more customer facing? Does he interact?
Kriti: [00:21:08] He focuses on advertising and how to attract customers and things like that. And he's always the one that's talking in the team, like you said, I hear him on a zoom calls all the time and he's the one getting the team like interacted, like giving them prompts to do it.
Merrick: [00:21:24] You see that, but I was just going to say. You nailed it. Is that maybe you're an it, and you're a parrot, but somehow you found your way to the help desk or you're customer facing where you're interacting with customers, but you're the one making presentations. So that's exactly what happens is you'll find a niche where your personality can shine. And here's the thing from a career perspective. If your personality matches your job, you're going to go home every day energized. Yeah. If your personality does not, you're going to go home every day exhausted.
Kriti: [00:21:57] I think that's an important
Merrick: [00:21:58] yeah. You want to make sure that who you are can shine because then it's easy. It doesn't feel like work. It feels like, Oh, this being me, I get paid to do this. What a great job!
Kriti: [00:22:07] As I've been doing the podcast, it's about financial literacy as well as like entrepreneurship. So I've always wanted to know like are certain personality types gonna manage their finances differently. And so I was wondering, do you have any advice on like financial literacy within these four different personality types.
Merrick: [00:22:28] Sure. Well, first let's look at the let's look at two that are probably the most clear. Owls managing their checkbook, managing their finances. Without a doubt, owls are meticulous. They are tracking everything. They are budgeting. They are making sure that the checkbook is balanced. I mean, everything for the owl is about making sure that it's right. They tend to plan. But it's, it's more about making sure what's in front of them is accurate.
Whereas you take somebody like a parrot. They don't really worry about it. They say, yeah. What could happen? For the parrot, it's this idea of, you know, what, if I don't write it down in the checkbook? Yeah. Maybe the bank makes mistakes, but they'll make mistakes for me. They'll make mistakes against me in the end. It'll even out, no big deal. And they don't stress. Parrots can often get themselves in trouble because really documenting. They're not they're living so in the moment. They don't think ahead. They think of I'm having fun right now. I'm going to spend the money. I'm going to do it. I love this. I'm going to buy it, but they may not plan ahead to the same degree as Owls could play. Could you see that play out for the both of those?
Kriti: [00:23:41] I can. I can like. Yeah, I think that's interesting. So what would you say, like for a parrot. Like, what should they do? Because you don't want to be financially illiterate. You don't want to poorly manage and leave it up to banks. Like what would you do? What would your advice be?
Merrick: [00:24:00] The key for the parrot is it can't be too complicated. Whereas an owl, if you were coaching an owl and to be financially literate and manage their money, well, you can provide a complex system to them and they'll use it. And there'll be actually happy that there's some complexity, because they can look at their money in different ways. They can organize themselves and they know exactly what they have. For a parrot . It's gotta be as simple as it possibly can be. And, and then they're more likely to do it. Hmm. I see. I see. Can't make it too, too difficult or else they'll just say, okay. No. Yeah, I see it. Whereas the owl might say, yeah, but you can't, it doesn't give you enough flexibility or it doesn't give you enough information.
It doesn't talk to him. It so carefully it's parrot, but for the parrot that's okay. . And so it's really understanding who you're talking to. The Eagles also don't like complexity, um, Eagles, because they're so big picture Eagles fly at 10,000 feet. They're often thinking long future. Yeah, they might, I feel like will be would be good investors.